The American singer Elvis Presley was born on this day, 8th January, in 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Elvis loved food the way his momma loved the roses, and especially good ole’ southern American cooking.
His cook for 20 years at his home, Graceland, was a Mary Jenkins Langston, a short woman who only came to 157 cm (5 feet 2 inches) tall. She wrote a cookbook called “The Elvis Presley Family & Friends Cookbook.”
Brian Lsi wrote in The New York Daily News:
“His life starting in poverty, Presley’s childhood involved occasionally having to subsist on squirrel meat. As such, food became the Tupelo, Miss.-born musician’s sole pleasure after he found fame and fortune, according to the BBC documentary “The Burger and the King.”
“He said that the only thing in life he got any enjoyment out of was eating,” Mary Jenkins Langston, Presley’s chef for 14 years, told the BBC. “And he liked his food real rich.”1
Here is a 1995 interview with Mary Langston, edited from a 1995 BBC special, “The Burger and The King”:
Another cook at Graceland was Pauline Nicholson.
Elvis’ uncle, Vester Presley, who worked at Graceland as a guard, wrote a cookbook called “The Presley Family Cookbook.”
Elvis’s love of food has been popularized in the UK by Nigella Lawson.
Some of Elvis’s favourite dishes included:
- Baked Apple And Sweet Potato Pudding
- Baloney Cups
- Banana Pudding
- Blackberry Pie
- Breaded Chicken Livers
- Catfish (in a pecan crust)
- Cornbread (skillet stove-top baked)
- Fried Dill Pickles
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
- Grits and Cheese
- Ham Hocks with Pinto Beans
- Smoked Pork Back Ribs
- Triple-layer fudge cake
- Turnip Greens
Elvis loved his fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches at any time of day:
“Prepared in a skillet full of butter, the sandwich bearing the rotund ruler of Graceland’s name consists of toasted bread, peanut butter and slices of banana with bacon occasionally tossed into the mix. Langston would recall that he’d request the dish for breakfast, at 2 in the morning and any time in between.”2
It has been estimated by some that Elvis ate about 94,000 to 100,000 calories a day (for comparison, an adult Asian elephant takes in 50,000 calories a day).
This, however, is almost certainly either a miscalculation, or a myth.
Some people think the 100,000 calories a day myth started in 2002, with an article entitled “Fat Dead Elvis” by a Dr Karl S. Kruszelnicki.
“Before he died, Elvis was eating about 100,000 calories per day! That’s more than enough to keep your average multi-tonne Asian elephant alive.”3
Kruszelnicki, Australian TV’s equivalent of Bill Nye in America, is usually considered a careful source, but some speculate that in this article he mixed up metric kilojoules with dietary Calories in his conversions.
Mark Jacob, co-author of “What the Great Ate”, says:
“My brother and I tried to debunk myths in the book. We’d read that Elvis’s daily caloric intake equaled that of an Asian elephant, which would be about 65,000 calories a day. We checked with a nutritional expert who said no way he ate that much. The expert estimated that Elvis ate not more than 10,000 – 12,000 calories a day. (The recommended intake for an average adult male is 2,500 calories a day.)” ((White, Nancy J. Authors pick Elvis Presley as the greatest glutton. Toronto: Toronto Star. 25 July 2010.)
Elvis died 16 August 1977, weighing 111 kg (245 pounds.)
Celebrations of Elvis’s birthday each year centre around his home, Graceland.
Other commemorations happen in his birthplace, Tupelo, at the Elvis Presley Museum there, as well as at the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel, and The Tupelo Hardware Store.
Lsi, Brian. A look at Elvis Presley’s insane food habits on the anniversary of his death. New York: New York Daily News. 16 August 2016. ↩
Lsi, Brian. Ibid. ↩
Kruszelnicki, Dr Karl S. Fat Dead Elvis. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 October 2002. Accessed August 2018 at http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2002/10/08/689019.htm ↩